At Davis High School, internships are part and parcel of many Regional Occupational Programs.
From students in Robbie Thayer’s auto tech class interning in Davis auto shops to those in Ann Moriarty’s ROP biotechnology class working in university and private industry laboratories, on-the-job experience is a regular part of ROP programs.
But over at Da Vinci High School, the focus on internships has now gone schoolwide, with the hiring of a part-time internship coordinator responsible for pairing students with local businesses.
That coordinator, Susan Kirby, designed a program similar to that used by New Technology High School in Napa, and since the program got under way in late January, she has placed about half a dozen students in positions throughout town, including with photographer Bud Harmon, the Institute of Restorative Health, Davis Media Access and the civil engineering department at UC Davis.
Meanwhile, more than 40 Da Vinci students have expressed interest in internships next year. The program is open to all seniors, who will receive practical arts credit for their work.
Kirby herself sits down with students to get a sense of where their interests lie and what businesses might make a good fit for them. They’ve certainly given her a lot to work with: Students have expressed interest in everything from the arts to working with animals, environmental science to law enforcement and more.
Kirby is already reaching out to local businesses and finding a receptive audience.
“Most people have been really interested in helping students and giving them opportunities,” she said. “Some say ‘no,’ but the reception has been mostly positive.”
“I’m not worried about placing them all,” she added.
As for the internships already under way this year, “they have been very successful and the students are loving the opportunity,” Kirby said.
Students actually sign a contract with the employer and are evaluated a couple of times throughout the internship. They also keep a time sheet and are required to work 50 hours total.
For Da Vinci senior Jon Dycaico, that’s meant several hours a week interning at Davis Media Access.
He usually works in teams of three or more people on a stationary camera, filming everything from sporting events to concerts. And though he had filming experience under his belt — having worked on several video projects at Da Vinci — he’s learned a lot as well.
“It’s a totally different experience from filming friends,” he said, adding that Davis Media Access cameras were “easy to learn, but hard to master.”
And the experience has done nothing to change his future goals.
“I like taking video,” he said. “It’s made me even more interested in maybe pursing a career in Hollywood.”
No big surprise there, given his ongoing interest in all things theatrical: Dycaico regularly participates in music and theater, from Davis Idol to Acme Theatre Company, DHS Jazz Choir and more. He had specifically asked for an internship related to music or entertainment and Davis Media Access fit the bill.
“I also like that it’s low-key and technology-oriented,” he said.
Kirby would like to bring in more businesses and notes that the program at New Tech High School has been so successful, “they have more businesses than students.”
“I see it as a mentoring opportunity,” she said. “Students can’t help but gain some knowledge about what you’re doing.”
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at email@example.com or (530) 747-8051.
Top 5 Kids:
Da Vinci students have requested internships in many different professions, including:
2. Game design
3. Habitat restoration
4. Computer security
5. Culinary arts